To be an excellent baseball player or pianist, you need to practice, practice, and practice. You wouldn’t expect to hit home runs effortlessly or play at Carnegie Hall with no practice. The same principle applies to interview success.
At this point, you’ve come to understand the feelings of despondency caused by losing your job. You’ve learned about yourself by using a SWOT analysis. You’ve researched the position, company, industry, and the interviewers themselves.
Now, it’s time to practice.
Job candidates often walk into interviews without practicing first. They think they can just “wing it.” They’re overconfident, and they’re making a mistake.
Instead, do the following things to practice before every interview:
Practice by Yourself
It might seem unnatural, but practicing by yourself will make you less self-conscious. Use a mirror to practice answering questions. Observe your facial expressions and body language.
When I was out of work, I practiced for interviews on my daily walks. Sure, people would occasionally overhear me reciting my elevator pitch. They would catch me answering potential questions. They would see me gesticulate with my hands as I practiced refining my body language.
You might feel more comfortable practicing by yourself while driving. This is perfectly fine, but expect to get some weird looks from other motorists.
Practice With a friend
This takes more courage than practicing by yourself, but it is also more useful because it gives you the chance to get feedback on your answers and body language. The friends you chose to help you should be objective and somewhat critical, but not discouraging.
Having done your research, you can predict (up to a certain point) the types of questions that will be asked. Write these on a note card and have your friend pose them to you. Practice answering the questions with confidence, proper body language, and accurate content.
A proper mock interview is perhaps the best way to practice. However, they’re not easy to come by, especially if they are done properly.
Most mock interviews are conducted by career advisors who use digital cameras to record the interviews. When the recording of your interview is played, you can observe your body language and hear the content of your answers.
Are you fidgeting with your fingers? Are you maintaining eye content? Are you answering the questions directly? Are there too many “ums” and “ahs”?
A trained career advisor will point out your body language and comment on your content. Most importantly, they’ll let you see and hear your mistakes. You’ll leave with the video on a flash drive so you can rewatch the session in the days before the interview.
What does practicing do for you? Ultimately it prepares you better for the interview, which gives you more confidence. Coupled with the research you’ve done on the company and position, practicing answering the questions you predict interviewers will ask you will be the key to your success.
As mentioned above, you can’t expect to perform well in sports or music without practice. Treat the interviews you attend with the same mindset. Confidence comes from research and practicing beforehand.
Check out part five, where we talk about making a good first impression.
This post originally appeared in Recruiter.com.
Photo: Flickr, Green Dot Public Schools